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Mediation is a negotiation process where parties in a dispute are assisted by a neutral third party — a mediator — to reach a solution to their problem. Importantly, the parties themselves decide the outcome during mediation — not the mediator. The mediator’s job is to facilitate a safe, confidential conversation and a decision-making process.
Most disputes arise and continue because of poor communication. Mediation brings disputing parties together in a safe and confidential setting and helps them communicate better. Each participant gets an opportunity to tell his or her side of the story and also to hear what others have to say. As this occurs, the parties often learn some new perspectives. This helps them make better decisions as they work toward a mutually-beneficial solution.
For those who are not attorneys or otherwise familiar, we will work with you to schedule mediation at a convenient time for all concerned. We mediate cases at our offices in Cody and Sheridan (check out About Us), but our service is not limited to our locations. If you are involved in a dispute elsewhere and would like assistance, we will travel and also can make arrangements for a mediation location. Prior to mediation, we ask parties to submit information which we use to learn about the case and prepare. We then work with the parties to design the mediation format. There isn’t a single, set format. In most cases, the participants and the mediator meet together at the beginning, but this does not always happen. We discuss the process, ask questions, and allow each participant to offer comments if they wish. Then usually the parties move to separate spaces for private meetings with the mediator where information is kept confidential. Generally, offers and counteroffers arise out of these meetings as the parties work to resolve their dispute. Once an agreement is reached, each participant signs a written document, acknowledging agreement to its terms.
The biggest benefit to mediation is the avoidance of a long, drawn-out legal battle. Inherent in this is not only a savings in terms of time and emotional pain, but a significant savings in money. Clearly, this is especially true when the parties elect to hire a mediator prior to hiring lawyers and beginning litigation — hiring one mediator is much less expensive than hiring two (or more) attorneys to fight a lengthy battle.
We mediate a broad spectrum of cases. To get a better sense, take a look at the representative cases in the our Services section. If you have questions about whether a particular type of case is right for mediation, feel free to give us a call.
Each party to a mediation pays a non-refundable administrative fee, which currently is $125. Then, unless the parties agree otherwise, all fees and out-of-pocket costs for services provided are split evenly between the parties to the mediation. This includes time spent by the mediator working before, during or after the scheduled mediation session. Our hourly fee for mediation services currently is $285. At that rate, the fee for an eight-hour day is $2,280. When travel time is charged, it is billed at $150 per hour. In some instances, we can reduce or avoid travel time by combining work in other cases.
The mediator generally meets with everyone in the same room at the beginning of the day. Sometimes, there are reasons we don’t all meet together – it depends on the circumstances. The mediator then settles the parties in separate rooms and goes back and forth between them, asking questions, exchanging offers and generally working to facilitate an agreement that makes sense for everyone involved. A bit of downtime is to be expected during the mediation process — parties should feel free to bring reading material or other means of staying occupied during those times when the mediator is meeting with the other party.
Yes, mediations are confidential by law. No information is divulged to the other party unless the mediator has permission to do so. At the end of mediation, we do not maintain a file. All confidential material is shredded.